University of Oulu

Cytoplasmic domains of the myelin-associated glycoprotein

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Author: Kursula, Petri1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pathology
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2000
Publish Date: 2000-05-23
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, for public discussion in the Auditorium of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, on June 21st, 2000, at 12 noon.
Reviewer: Docent Matti Poutanen
Professor Heikki Rauvala


The function of the vertebrate nervous system is based on the rapid and accurate transmission of electrical impulses. The myelin sheath is a lipid-rich membrane that envelops the axon, preventing the leakage of the nervous impulse to the environment. Myelin is formed when the plasma membrane of a myelinating glial cell differentiates and wraps around an axon. The compaction of myelin leads to the extrusion of most of the glial cell cytoplasm from the structure. Both the compact and noncompact regions of myelin carry distinct subsets of proteins.

The myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG) is present in noncompact myelin. It is a cell adhesion molecule expressed only by myelinating glial cells. Two isoforms of MAG, S- and L-MAG, exist, and these forms differ from each other only by their cytoplasmic domains. Until now, little information has been available on the differences between the MAG isoforms. This study was carried out in order to gain information on the cytoplasmic domains of S- and L-MAG.

Significant differences were observed in the properties of the MAG cytoplasmic domains. An interaction between the L-MAG cytoplasmic domain and the S100b protein was characterised, and a role for this interaction was found in the regulation of L-MAG phosphorylation. Evidence was also obtained for the dimerisation of the L-MAG cytoplasmic domain. The S-MAG cytoplasmic domain bound zinc, which induced a change in the surface properties of the protein. The S-MAG cytoplasmic domain was also found to interact directly with tubulin, the core component of microtubules.

In conclusion, this study has brought information on the functions of the MAG cytoplasmic domains. The results are complementary with ealier hypotheses on the roles of the MAG isoforms in myelinating glia. While the properties of L-MAG suggest a role as a signaling molecule, a dynamic structural role for S-MAG during myelin formation and maintenance can be envisaged.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 951-42-5669-7
ISBN Print: 951-42-5668-9
Issue: 594
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2000. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.